Tuesday March 21, 2006

By Phil Smith
As of this Friday, March 24, It's only a week until the Waterford Speedbowl opens with their Nationals and two weeks until the Thompson Speedway goes green with IceBreaker ’06. In three weeks it will be the Spring Sizzler at Stafford. Despite the many stories of doom and gloom Waterford Speedbowl general manager Bill Roth and Public Relations director Pete Zanardi have a positive attitude going into the start of the 56th consecutive season for the shoreline oval. It is sincerely hoped that Roth and Zanardi can keep the Speedbowl’s head above water.
Now that the mid-March Full Moon has passed it looks like New England is in for a warming trend. It’s time to get all that yard work done so when the green flag for the beginning of the 2006 season drops there will be no excuse to stay home and do the chores that have been put off since last fall.
In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series news, car-owners Dennis Charette and Chris Drouin announced that they will field the # 03 Chevrolet on the Whelen Modified Tour in the 2006 season. Charette, a Waterford Speedbowl regular and six-time winner, will pilot the car in a 10-race schedule. Embroidery Works of Berlin, CT will serve as primary sponsor. It looks like the recently married Reggie Ruggiero will again run a limited schedule. His first race for 2006 will be the 35th annual Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Motor Speedway. It will be interesting to see if any of the northern based Modified teams head south this weekend for the Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series opener at the Caraway Speedway in Ashboro, NC.
In a recent poll conducted among those who follow the Whelen Modified Tour Series the majority feel that Tony Hirschman will repeat as champion despite the fact that he will receive stiff competition from Mike Stefanik. Little has been said about Jerry Marquis who has to be the most underrated driver in the series. Marquis is a senior member of the tour who has a reputation of being easy on equipment plus is a consistant top three finisher. It should make for an exciting year.
In TV land, this week’s viewing begins on Wednesday, March 22 at 5:00pm with the Feb 25 Hooters Cup Late Models from the USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL. At 8:00pm the action switches to the Outdoor Channel at 8:00pm for the World of Outlaws who ran at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas, NV. on March 9. Thursday’s action begins at noon with the NASCAR Busch Series Nicorette 300 that was run this past Saturday, March 18 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Nextel Cup, Golden Coral 500 run on Sunday at Atlanta, follows at 4:00pm. On Friday, March 24, the Speed Channel goes live at 3:00pm from the Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR Nextel Cup QUALIFYING, Food City 500 follows at 3:30. Speed goes live again at 7:00pm. Saturday’s action begins at noon with NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for the Sharpie Mini 300 at Bristol. At 2:00pm the action switches to FX for the final Nextel Cup practice for the Food City 500. The NASCAR Busch Series, Sharpie Mini 300 follows at 3:00pm on FOX. Speed News Saturday on the Speed Channel at 7:00pm wraps up the day’s racing. The Speed Channel previews the Food City 500 live at 11:00am. At 1:30 FOX goes live with their pre-race show. The Food City 500 gets the green at 2:00pm. Speed News Sunday wraps it up at 7:00pm followed by NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain goes at 9:00p.m.
On the Speedway Stock Market Scene it was a banner week to say the least. Maybe it was the full moon, maybe it was March Madness, who knows but with the exception of Featherlite Trailers dropping 0.07 to 4.74 just about everything else ended the week on a positive note. Leading the speedway stocks was the International Speedway Corporation, which went up 0.90 to 50.75. On a strange note it was reported by the SEC that Brian France had divested himself of quite a lot of his ISC stock recently. Dover Downs went up 0.51 to 5.63 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.11 to 36.41. Nextel went up 0.25 to 25.62while Sun Oil took a big jump as they went up 3.12 to 79.55. Also ending the week on a positive note was DIRT Motorsports, which went up 0.15 to 3.50. In the drug sector Pfizer went up 0.26 to 26.34. Bristol Meyers-Squib indicated they might move their corporate offices from Connecticut to Rhode Island went up 0.03 to 22.94. The home improvement sector had a banner week. Lowes went up 3.24 to 68.64 and Home Depot went up 1.66 to 42.91. The parcel carriers were also flying high. Fedex went up 2.94 to 114.95 and UPS went up 0.72 to 78.08.
Forbes Magazine released their list of the world’s richest people recently. Among those on the list are Bill and Jim France of NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation who are ranked 512th with $1.5 billion and O. Bruton Smith of Speedway Motorsports and the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. who is ranked 562nd with $1.4 billion. Bill Gates of the Microsoft Empire is ranked No.1 with $50 billion.


That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail  

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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